Heels on Starz: Episode 5, reviewed
Heels just keeps getting better and better, and “Swerve” is an appropriate name for the latest episode with its ensuing drama. This was the first week where I watched the show as soon as it was available to me, and it more than delivered.
Episode 5: “Swerve”
Jack’s son Thomas was featured a lot in this episode. Not only did Jack agree to buy him a pet Gerbil and read the format of the card to the Duffy Wrestling League locker room, but at Jack’s dinner-meeting with the local council about DWL putting on a card at the state fair, young Thomas went into business for himself and gave one of the committee members, Constance, real the run-down on how pro wrestling works.
We learned more about the character Crystal Tyler, the now-former valet of Ace Spade, too. The episode opens with her rehearsing her promo in the steel cage, but the Spade brothers didn’t go for it. One of my favorite unexpected wrinkles of this series is the emergence of Crystal’s gambling problem: After getting her paycheck for $101.18, she bet $100 on the St. Louis Cardinals over the Cincinnati Reds run line. Incredible.
In the previous episode Ace sees Bobby and Crystal on the trampoline, and rather than talk to Crystal about the issue and confronting his problems, he keyed Bobby’s car and slept with Tricia who tends bar at Cooper’s. When the bet hit for Crystal was when she jump-hugged Bobby in the parking lot. Ace saw this and seethed as he drove in with Tricia, of all people.
Ace, who has a bad communication gimmick on Heels, went behind Crystal’s back to basically dump her as his valet for Tricia, and that, in kayfabe, he had caught her cheating with Bobby. Art imitating life. It’s like a reverse Matt Hardy-Lita-Edge situation because Ace is in the Matt Hardy spot. Tricia is now Ace’s valet and she sucks. She’s almost taken the top heel spot from Ace or Wild Bill when it comes to characters in the show.
The line of this episode came from Willie. As part of the angle, she wanted to photograph Bobby and Crystal making out in the back of the venue, and when Crystal and Bobby, who definitely like each other but haven’t started dating yet, awkwardly made it look like they were kissing, Willie said “Christ, it’s like you’re related.” I howled with laughter and rewatched that scene. Willie is a strong contender for season MVP of Heels. It’s when they make out for real that they have their “CM Punk & AJ Lee on SmackDown” moment; Bobby’s lower-body thought it was a shoot while his upper-body knew it was a work.
Wild Bill continued to live up to his nickname in this episode, too. He held a press conference for an apology in an extravagant building that looked suspiciously like the Time Variance Authority. The show writers managed to insert a subtle jab at WWE and a direct one at the NFL about men and women giving their bodies only to be tossed away when done and broken down. It went exactly how you’d expect. He then followed Jack home in his car while Jack was on run. Spade wanted none of it. Jack was ready to fight Bill on sight, and so was I, to be honest.
Bill even shows up at the DWL event and buys a ticket and creates a scene. It’s here where he convinces Crystal that she’s a star and she’s more over than Ace. This sets the stage for the main event.
Staci started her job at the grocery store and showed a vigorous work ethic and jumped at the chance to clean up a breakage— only it was Wild Bill who had spilled a jar of pickles. The innuendo ensues with Bill. He managed to bring Jack up, who was struggling with the DWL and Tom’s suicide. Every conversation with Bill seems to end up with the other participant calling him a “piece of shit.”
Diego, who was booked to win a battle royal, offered to go rogue and have Rooster win to alleviate his frustration with his spot on the card. When push came to shove, however, Rooster didn’t stray from the path and put Diego over in the end. What was noteworthy is how popular Rooster was with the crowd, and Jack took notice. Jack and Rooster had a heart-to-heart backstage, and it looked like Rooster might be getting the almighty push after all.
Elsewhere backstage, tensions almost boiled over when Ace & Bobby and Tricia & Crystal got into shoving matches ahead of the main event, which was Bobby Pin vs. Ace Spade in a steel cage with Jack Spade as the referee. My one nit for this episode is that you can win by escaping the cage in the DWL, which was explained to us with some fine exposition.
Ace was about to cut his dumping-Crystal-for-Tricia promo when Crystal went into business for herself, verbally castrating Ace, which got the crowd going and pissed Ace off to no end. Both the lines of kayfabe and reality were very much blurred here, and it was great. It threw fuel on the fire for the fans in the fictional DWL as well as “real” fans watching on television.
Jack, who was livid backstage, knew that now the match had been made and that it’s going to have to happen. He accepted it in front of the delighted fans.
The State Fair committee, who sat ringside for the card and had the time of their lives, gave Jack the green light for DWL at the fair. They called him when he was at the hospital waiting for Bobby along with the wrestlers. Jack also roughed up Ace unknowingly in front of young Thomas, who thought the world of Ace.
I loved this episode. Stephen Amell is fantastic. Everyone in this show gives good-great performances. It’s gone from *** to ****+ within just a couple of episodes, and I’m clamoring for the next three. I officially own Michael Waldron season tickets. I hope we get multiple seasons of this from Starz.